Sunday, July 8, 2012

#137 My Story Ideas

     In my ebook, Tiny Others, Savannah Allen was inspired to write her chronicle of the forest spirits when she was given a strange ream of very old paper by Mr. Pippin, the little shopkeeper in a country market.

     Savannah's story-within-a-story was actually my own creation though, wasn't it? 

     I am often asked where I find the ideas I use in my ebooks.

     It has usually been a lengthy process, and no two stories have been exactly alike.  The ideas and titles have evolved over time, but I have developed a few techniques that seem to tap into my creativity.

     First of all, I keep a notebook of "story seeds"-- a list of ideas from which a story might grow.  Each of these might be only a word or two or they might be several complete sentences.  I read over this list once in a while, and use a colored pencil to star anything that jumps out at me.  I also add to it whenever I think of anything new that might be useful at a later time.

     I like to take a long, quiet walk after I review this notebook.  At first, I actively think about any project that might be worth developing, and then I try to dismiss the idea(s) and think about something else for a while.  

     That's right, I deliberately put the writing ideas into the back pocket of my brain and continue to walk.  That lets my subconscious take over, and often before I finish my walk, I find myself cooking up the bare bones of a  idea.

     When I get home, I try to sort it out.  Does it have an obvious problem or conflict?  Are there several ways it might be solved?  What important message does it offer to my reading audience?

    I write down those loose ends, then try to use this template: 

     (name of the main character) wants more than anything to_________ , but can't because_______ so he/she tries ______, and _____, and ______. Finally he/she tries _______ and it works.  At the end everyone _________.

     I loved teaching my students to use these writing processes that I find so useful.  I hope you can use some of them, too.    

     Next time, I will begin a series of posts about the way seven of my stories developed into published ebooks.

    Please join us, and meanwhile, keep reading and writing.  



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